A newspaper in warning that the beleaguered buy to let sector may be under attack yet again with the government considering more stamp duty on homes purchased to be let out.
James Forsyth, political editor of the Conservative-supporting Spectator magazine, wrote in a guest column in The Sun over the weekend that this autumn’s Budget may see the introduction of yet more SDLT on buy to let purchases.
In April 2016 a three per cent stamp duty surcharge was introduced on additional homes - that is, both buy to lets and holiday homes.
The Sun is not a natural source of housing news, but it has been used by the government in the past to ‘fly kites’ and raise issues to gauge public opinion before the measures are introduced formally - or, in some cases, abandoned.
In addition, Forsyth is known to have influential sources close to government.
Forsyth’s comments on the issue are:
The Treasury is looking for ways to raise money ahead of the Budget this autumn.
I understand one option being considered is a further increase in the stamp duty rate for buy to let properties.
This would, so the thinking goes, raise money for the Exchequer and help keep house prices down.
But if the Government is serious about helping more people on to the property ladder, as opposed to just raising yet more money from Stamp Duty, then what’s needed is changes to the planning laws to get far more homes built where people want to live.
And here is how the Sun’s news pages reported it in a piece by its political editor, Tom Newton Dunn:
Treasury chiefs are planning to hike the extra levy on buy-to-let purchases in a fresh bid to ease the housing crisis.
The stamp duty premium to curb the purchase of second homes as money makers was established two years ago by then Chancellor George Osborne.
It means buy-to-let purchasers have to pay an additional 3% of the property’s value in tax, on top of stamp duty.
The revelation comes in political writer James Forsyth’s column in The Sun.
But there have been questions on whether it has been successful in cooling the buy to let market, which is still fuelled by record low interest rates.
Buy to let mortgages now make up less than 13% of all new loans, down from 17% in 2015.
But the number of buy to let landlords in the UK hit an all-time high of 2.5million in the last tax year.
A government source said: “Increasing the buy-to-let levy is something the Treasury are looking at doing in the Budget.
“It will be sold as a measure to ease the housing crisis but it’s more about raising money.”
Stamp duty rises and the buy-to-let premium rises with the value of the property.